UWE’s new Future Space to bring up to 450 jobs to Bristol

Companies will benefit from onsite business advisers

The state-of-the-art Future Space business workspace at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) Frenchay Campus has been handed over to the management team at Oxford Innovation.

Future Space at UWE Bristol provides a unique destination for science and technology companies and includes shared and co-working offices, an equipped lab, upgradeable workshops and dedicated offices. Occupants will also access support from business advisers to help their companies grow.

The third company to join Future Space has now moved in. Liz Davidson, of Esoterix Systems, says the firm is taking full advantage of the connections on offer.

“Future Space at UWE combines the fresh, forward-looking environment we’re looking for with the ideal geographic location. We’re a technology start-up working in transport provision, a sector that grew 268% in 2015. We have big ambitions and when looking at offices Future Space was the obvious choice,” she said.

Two businesses that started out with support from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) Business Incubator have also recently expanded into Future Space offices. Reach Robotics and Open Bionics have established international reputations and both have outgrown the incubator but both companies value the proximity to the expertise of research colleagues at BRL. 

Silas Adekunle, Managing Director of Reach Robotics, said, “Future Space has allowed our company to all be in one fantastic space. It feels great to look up from my desk and see everyone working towards the same goal. The facilities are top-notch as well. Can’t wait until the cafe opens!”

Sammy Payne, co-founder of Open Bionics, was equally enthusiastic. “We’ve been incredibly lucky to have had the Bristol Robotics Lab support us throughout building our company. Joining Future Space was an obvious move for us, as we’re still closely connected to the lab and the successful robotics start-ups from the incubator. Future Space is a hub for energetic companies hungry for growth and success. Open Bionics has taken advantage of Future Space’s open offices to grow the team and set up a manufacturing and assembly unit,” he said. 

There is no doubt in my mind that fostering an entrepreneurial atmosphere on our campus is a win for our students and our research community as we know that by collaborating and nurturing business we create a climate of innovation that has a ripple effect

Professor Steve West, UWE Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President, said, “This is a big moment for the University as we open yet another venture that sets us apart as a technology-based university focused on generating opportunities for business growth and collaboration. 

“There is no doubt in my mind that fostering an entrepreneurial atmosphere on our campus is a win for our students and our research community as we know that by collaborating and nurturing business we create a climate of innovation that has a ripple effect.”

Elaine McKechnie, Future Space Director, added: “We have been inundated with enquiries for what we believe will become the most exciting science and technology hub in the UK. Most of the enquiries have been UK based but we have international aspirations and we are already getting enquiries from overseas.

“Future Space will provide a home generating up to 450 jobs once the 70 spaces are filled. Access to the research community at UWE Bristol and beyond is a fundamental selling point that sets Future Space apart. It is not just about a big swanky well-appointed building, although I must say it is a beautiful, light, futuristic and inspirational place to work.

“Future Space is set up to foster collaboration between the creative science and technology businesses that decide to move here. Companies joining Future Space are buying into so much more than a workspace. It will be like a growing family of companies who spark off ideas and work together. We are all about encouraging interactions and connections between the business occupants, the UWE Bristol and BRL research community and their many academic, industrial and organisational partners.”

The companies joining Future Space will be supported by business advisors Richard May and Nuala Foley who will help to nurture, grow aspirations and advise on collaboration, expansion, new markets, investment and development opportunities.

To find out more, visit futurespacebristol.co.uk.

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